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Our 37-credit-hour program prepares future administrators for the issues and challenges found in schools today. The MSSL prepares teachers and qualified school personnel to secure a PK-12 building administration license in Kansas or certificate in Missouri.

Earn your MSSL in Overland Park or online in about two years.

Next Start Date

Online | January 2020

10% Tuition Discount for Baker Alumni


As a Baker grad, you’ve built the foundation for an excellent career. Keep that momentum going by earning your MAEd, MS-IDPT, MSSL, or MSSE degree at Baker. You’re eligible for a 10% alumni tuition discount!

More Info: 913.344.1203 or



You can fit graduate studies into your existing schedule by taking classes one night a week or online. Take core leadership courses on campus and core education courses online through our blended program. Classes are held year-round, and new classes start every seven weeks.


You can apply up to 6 credit hours of approved graduate credit to your degree program. And our graduate programs are approved for federal financial loan programs. Contact Financial Aid for further information.


You will learn from highly knowledgeable veteran instructors who have been closely affiliated with many different school districts and have held a variety of administrative positions. They care about the future of education and are driven to build effective leaders in the field.


More assistant principals in Kansas schools have earned their master’s degree from Baker than from any other university. And Baker is among the top-four Kansas universities chosen by principals employed in public schools in Kansas.


Our School of Education graduates are routinely honored locally, regionally, and nationally.

  • Milken Educator Awards
  • Kansas Horizon Award for Outstanding First-Year Teachers
  • Kansas and Missouri National Distinguished Principals
  • Exemplary Middle School Principal of the Year
  • Kansas Teacher of the Year
  • National Teacher of the Year Runner-Up


of Baker’s MSSL graduates pass the School Leadership Licensure Assessment on the first attempt.

Our Award Winners

JOHN ERNST, Ed.D. ’15, MAEd, ’07

Milken Educator Award
Blue Valley Northwest High School | Overland Park, Kansas
“Taking the pulse” of the school each day not only ensures Ernst knows the students at Rolling Ridge, but also earned him a ticket to a black-tie event in Washington, D.C., in October. “My second graduation ceremony at Baker was such an unbelievable experience. The bagpipes were playing. It’s hard to describe how special Baker is to me.”


Outstanding Elementary Music 
Educator of the Year
South Central Kansas District of Kansas Music Educators Association
Soderstrom Elementary School | Lindsborg, Kansas
Nelson prepares her students to perform dance and music for Lindsborg’s two-day biennial Svensk Hyllningsfest, directs students in the winter St. Lucia Festival and leads a church children’s choir in addition to giving private piano lessons.


Outstanding Young Member Award
National Association of Agricultural Educators

Royal Valley High School | Hoyt, Kansas
One of just six teachers in the country to receive the NAAE’s Outstanding Young Member Award, Mitchell is responsible for reviving Royal Valley’s FFA program and was integral in gaining $12,000 in grant funds in just two years.


Kansas National Distinguished 
Principal of the Year
National Association of Elementary 
School Principals
Rolling Ridge Elementary School | Olathe, Kansas
Smithyman, who teaches English, gives up weekends to hold student leadership conferences and to work with students to improve standardized test scores and complete college applications. As a result, their scores consistently beat district, state, and national averages.


Tuition $375/credit hour
One-time registration fee $20
One-time materials fee $40
Technology fee $30/course
Application fee $20
Graduation fee $125

Requirements & Curriculum

What We Need From You

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
  • 2.75 cumulative undergraduate GPA
  • Teaching certificate
  • A minimum of three years of experience in an accredited K-12 program by completion of the MSSL degree

Apply Now by Submitting the Following

  • Completed application form
  • $20 application fee
  • Copy of teaching certificate
  • Official transcripts* from all undergraduate institutions attended
  • Official transcript* indicating a bachelor’s degree conferred from a regionally accredited institution of higher education with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.75
  • Two letters of recommendation from professional colleagues
    pdfLetter of Recommendation Form
  • Minimum TOEFL scores for international students

*How to send transcripts to Baker.

33 Credit Hours of Core Leadership Courses

  • Foundations of Educational Administration (this course is a prerequisite to all other core leadership courses)
  • Organizational Health and Performance
  • School Personnel
  • Curriculum and Instruction for Administrators
  • Student Services, Climate and Programs
  • School Planning, Operations and Finance
  • Legal and Ethical Issues in School Leadership
  • The Ethical Building Leader
  • The Principal as Assessment Leader
  • Inquiry and Research
  • Educational Leadership: Technology in Support of Teaching and Learning

Capstone Project – 4 Credit Hours of Directed Field Experience

The capstone project in the Master of Science in School Leadership program consists of Directed Field Experience (DFE). The DFE is similar to a practicum and provides you with hands-on experience as you work alongside a practicing school administrator.


During the MSSL program, you will also compile a portfolio and submit it to the faculty. See portfolio tab.

  • Completion of the approved 37-credit-hour MSSL curriculum
  • A minimum graduate grade point average of 3.25 with no more than one course completed with a grade of C (D and F grades are not acceptable.)
  • Completion of all coursework within six years of the date of initial enrollment
  • A minimum composite average of 3.5 on the Professional Skills Survey
  • A minimum of three years of experience in an accredited K-12 program by completion of the MSSL degree
  • Completion of a program portfolio
  • Submission of intent to graduate form six months before anticipated degree completion
  • Payment of all tuition and fees
An electronic portfolio consisting of educational artifacts from your MSSL coursework is a requirement for program completion. The portfolio accomplishes the following:

  • Showcases artifacts that demonstrate your skills as a potential building administrator
  • Provides evidence that you have met or made significant progress toward the program objectives
  • Provides evidence of your growth during the program
  • Demonstrates your ability to use reflective construction

Your portfolio is in an electronic format, compiled online with TaskStream.

Directed Field Experience FAQ

The capstone project consists of directed field experience, which is similar to a practicum and provides you with hands-on experience as you work alongside a practicing school administrator.

1. What is directed field experience?

Directed field experience (DFE) is the MSSL or Building-Level Licensure capstone course and is designed so that you can take the beliefs, values, theory and knowledge that you’ve discussed in the classroom and transfer them to hands-on administrative responsibility. Under the supervision of a building administrator and a University supervisor, you will log a minimum of 100 hours of DFE covering a wide array of administrative responsibilities within the school setting.

2. When can I begin my DFE?

Because the DFE is intended to be the capstone course of your program, you must have successfully completed 21 MSL credit hours. To apply for the DFE, you must be in good standing with the district and building in which you are employed.

We will contact you at your Baker email address when it is time for you to apply for the DFE.

3. What happens after my application to begin DFE is received?

When we receive your application, we conduct an audit of your coursework to make sure that you have completed the required courses and that you have the required GPA as well as the required average on the Professional Skills Surveys. The audited application then goes to the Graduate Education Committee (GEC) for approval. You will be notified of your status via email.

4. Are there reasons my application might not be approved?
  • You have not completed the required number of MSL courses before the beginning of the DFE.
  • Your GPA has fallen below the required 3.25 or you have received more than one course with a C grade.
  • You have not met a composite average of 8.0 or better on the Professional Skills Surveys from your MSSL course instructors.
5. Do I have recourse if my application is not approved?

If your application is not approved, you may petition the Graduate Education Committee (GEC) by letter for acceptance into the DFE.

6. Who are the key people involved in my DFE?

You will need to identify an administrator mentor in the building where you will conduct your DFE. This mentor must be certified in building administration and have a minimum of three years of experience at the selected building level. We recommend that this mentor have a minimum of two years of administrative experience in the current building. You will complete 130 hours of administrative activities. To meet the requirements of your DFE, you will also need a second building mentor in a diverse location and at a different level of building administration as a part of the 130 hours.

A DFE coordinator is actively involved in your DFE, conducting mandatory class sessions as well as providing a university supervisor to assist you and your building mentor during the DFE.

7. How long will the DFE take?

The DFE covers a two-semester time frame. You may enroll in either an August to May, October to June, or March to November DFE. During this time you will participate in 130 hours of required DFE experiences. You may complete 20 hours of these requirements in the semester before the start of the DFE.

8. How will my DFE be assessed?

You will be expected to attend three class sessions at Baker University in Overland Park or Wichita. You will also complete an electronic program portfolio. Your primary building mentor and University supervisor will evaluate your progress.

9. Will financial aid pay for my DFE credit hours?

The DFE, if taken as a stand-alone course, does not qualify for financial aid. However, if you are concurrently enrolled in other courses along with the DFE and meet the definition of continuous enrollment, you may be eligible for financial aid. Please refer to our Financial Aid FAQ section for more information.


1. What can graduates do with the MSSL degree?

Most students who pursue the MSSL degree have the primary objective of obtaining building administrative licensure and becoming a building administrator.

2. What if I am not sure I want to be a principal?

Some students enter the MSSL program uncertain whether future professional plans will include building-level administration. You will develop an understanding of the big picture of leadership in a K-12 building environment. The knowledge you gain in the MSSL will also help you understand the educational process as it relates to teaching and teacher leadership roles. Some teacher leadership roles may include collaborative roles with building leadership, content leadership teams, and grade-level leadership teams. If leadership does not seem like a good fit for you, you may want to explore our Master of Arts in Education program with four concentration areas or our Master of Science in Special Education program.

3. What licensure can I obtain by completing the MSSL program?

The initial building-level license in Kansas is for two years and can be renewed for another two years. Once this endorsement is added to your Kansas license you can then apply for a Missouri license. Missouri initial certification is for four years.

4. What if I am from Missouri or another state and want to enroll in the program or I move out of state after I have completed the MSSL program?

Kansas has reciprocity with Missouri and several other states, so you can complete the Baker University MSSL program, obtain your Kansas license, and then and obtain licensure in many other states.

5. What grade levels will my administration certificate accommodate?

In Kansas, you will be granted an Initial License in Building Leadership PK-12. Missouri educators will receive a Missouri Initial Building Administration Certificate for Elementary and Secondary building administration.

6. Do I have to pass a test to get a license as an administrator?

You can complete the Baker University MSSL program without taking a state test. However, to obtain licensure in both Kansas and Missouri, you must successfully pass the School Leadership Licensure Assessment (SLLA).

7. How long do I have after completing the MSSL program to take the SLLA and apply for licensure?

It is recommended you complete the SLLA as soon as possible once you have completed your MSSL program. Ninety-seven percent of graduates from Baker University’s MSSL program successfully pass the SLLA on the first attempt. No individual course may be more than six years old at the time a candidate applies for licensure. Therefore, candidates may not be eligible for a license if they wait more than six years to apply.

8. What is the directed field experience?

The directed field experience (DFE) is the MSSL capstone course that provides you with the hands-on experiences necessary to transfer administrative beliefs, values, theory and knowledge into policy and practice. DFE students must complete 130 hours of administrative field experiences in 17 areas identified by the School of Education.

9. When can I begin the DFE?

The DFE is intended to be a capstone course for the MSSL program. As such, you must complete 21 credit hours of core leadership courses before you can begin the DFE. A DFE can be started in August, October, or March.

10. How long does it take to complete the DFE?

The DFE is completed in one of three sessions: August to May, October to June, or March to November.

11. How much time must I commit to my courses to be a successful student? How many hours of homework per week?

While this program accounts for the needs of working adults, students enrolled in an accelerated program (seven-week courses) must commit their time and energy to be successful. Students enrolled in an on-ground (face-to-face) course spend four hours each week in class and must expect to spend an average of 12 hours per week completing work outside of class time. The time spent outside of class includes activities such as reading assignments, research, writing, group projects, and preparation for the next class time. Students enrolled in an online course must expect to spend an average of 16 hours per week on learning course content: weekly assignments, forum posts, reading, research, writing, group projects, and so on.


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